I’ve have the most wonderful two weeks in Florida, especially the first ten days with my husband being here! We got to do so many fun activities, ate many lovely and tropical meals, got tan, and were in each other’s company 💗 Being able to have this one last vacation with my parents has been so nice as well.
The day after Rasmus left, I spent the day in Wellington Florida, also known as horse capital of the world! (And therefore heaven on Earth to me!). Just days before the 12 week competition began, the Winter Equestrian Festival, I was able to take a lesson with my guru and favorite trainer, Paul.
Being able to start the new year with a lesson with Paul was absolutely perfect timing – it gave me the opportunity to set serious and realistic goals with a master in the horse world. In the heat of the day, on a very athletic horse, I had a jumping lesson. Nestled behind prestigious gates, perfectly manicured lawns, symmetrically planted palm trees there lay communities of horse farms. Paul’s is one of those. Pretty much every winter for the past ten years I have lessoned, and several times leased and showed, with Paul. The wood panels and boxes shine with lacquer, and the happy horses shine from high end products and feed, the arena is perfectly groomed and the jump course masterfully crafted.
After polishing my boots, stretching my legs, and admitting it’s been a few weeks since I last rode, we started by warming up on a loose rein and long step. Then added more contact and worked in pace transitions. Paul also had me drop my stirrups by three holes, and commented that I seemed to be tipping off one side – I definitely need to get stronger riding with a longer stirrup, and strengthening my core.
We then moved on to lead changes, turns, and jumping over three raised cavalettis, working on adding and taking out strides. Not after long we had moved on to jumping a low course working in a panel jump, an oxer, a vertical, and the pole line.
At the end of the lesson I was exhausted, beyond exhausted 😲 Paul and I had a great conversation about what I need to work on, and what to expect in Europe! (He’s worked in Germany and France extensively), he reminded me that the horses will be stronger than what I’m used to, the riding style will be more seated than forward, it will be very COLD, but most importantly that horseback riding in Europe is unlike anything in the US – it is a major sport there, and that I will be in the heart of equestrianism!
Some of my main riding goals: get extremely fit, like, elite athlete fit to achieve my riding goals. Commit to a clean eating diet and gym regiment. Dedicate a certain amount of time per week to riding and taking lessons, and definitely getting more involved with the incredible show scene in Europe. I can’t wait! I was so grateful for my lesson, and to see Paul. He has helped my riding so much over the years, having met him ten years ago when I was a budding equitation girl, to now as an amateur off to Europe!
After Wellington we stopped by the Reefside ranch in Islamorada, a wonderful barn that teaches riding lessons! They are also regulars on the show scene, and I’ve actually competed at WEF on two of their horses in past years. They are a wonderful family team and it was wonderful to see them and catch up on what’s new!
I’m so excited for 2017, and so glad to have started out the year doing something I love so much and with such supreme guidance. I am definitely ready for my European adventure, and my life with Rasmus!